"A Birth Story. An Ode to the Power of Women."
There’s a round blow up hot tub in the middle of our tiny kitchen. A thick blue plastic lines the inside and a small motor roars to keep the water warm on the outside. I’ve been immersed for over 5 hours now.
The midwife says that the warm water can keep you relaxed during contractions, so here I am on my knees.
Resting my arms over the side of the tub.
Trying to relax.
I keep telling myself I’ve got this. I’m a yogi. I’m strong. I’m limber. I meditate. I’ve got this.
So far, I’m just trying to breathe.
Merrill keeps running from one room to the next feeding me popsicles and checking his phone.
He’s trying to hold it all together, keeping track of contractions with his stop watch and scribbling times down on a piece of binder paper.
He’s trying to balance his own fears, worry, and exhaustion.
If I do the math, I’ve already been laboring for 14 hours.
Fuck, I’m tired.
The pain moves through me like a crashing wave, like someone is pressing on all my insides trying to shove this child down through my body.
My back is on fire.
I’ve never felt anything like this. The pain is unmeasurable. Shots of agony pierce the insides of my legs and shoot out through my feet.
Each time the wave comes, sounds release from my deepest being that I have never heard before.
The sounds surprise me, even scare me a little. Deep wailing, deep calling, for strength, for my ancestors, for this child to finally come.
I’ve lost all inhibitions. I am a wild tribal woman, naked, bare, raw, covered in the scents of earth and birth. I’m lost in a trance where no one else can reach me. My vision of a poised yogini, controlled, measured, and birthing while striking a sweet pose, has been humbled by the wild grace erupting inside of me.
A different woman is present here.
Nicole arrives. My dearest sister, friend, and birth doula. A tall brunette warrior goddess. She tackles everything life throws at her undefended and resilient. She gave birth to her two boys at home. I was there as her second baby entered the world. Thank God she is here.
Is this normal?
I’m so scared.
She places her hands on my back and I start to cry. I can feel all the women that have come before me in her hands, supporting me, loving me, holding me.
“Yes honey, you are okay.”
I have what I’ve been missing for the past 14 hours. A woman. Her touch feels like everything.
The midwife finally arrives. She’s round and soft, with long wavy black hair laced with what looks like silver tinsel. Her face is decorated with a nose ring and a smile that feels like a warm blanket. Every time I see her, I just want to rest my head in her lap and let her take care of me. She lays me out on the living room floor on top of sheets we’ve gathered to protect the carpet.
I’m still brutally naked.
I still don’t care.
Legs spread wide open, four faces staring at my most private part I’ve kept hidden from the world my whole life.
There is no hiding here.
They go in to check where I’m at.
There’s little progress.
“The baby is facing the wrong way, we have to turn him.”
She gently informs me that “turning him” means sticking her arm up my vagina while I am have a contraction, and literally spinning the baby around.
I hear, “On the count of three”…
“Oh… my… fucking… gawd”.
My mom comes and goes. And comes again.
Eight more hours go by.
I’m bone tired.
It’s finally time.
I’m in my bed, on my back, knees bent, wide open. I’ve been pushing for about 2 hours. The pushing is even more intense than the waves I felt before. My vagina is being ripped and burned opened while a brand new human being is trying to make his way through me.
My mom is on one side of me, Merrill on the other, each holding my hand and cheering me on. Nicole and the midwives are there gently coaching me.
“You want to feel his head?” The midwife asks.
I put my hand down there timidly and feel him for the first time. A hard-round thing emerging from my body. She holds a mirror. Tears start rolling. He is here.
A couple more pushes is all it takes.
He is out.
My body sighs and softens with relief.
Merrill catches him, my tiny baby boy, my son, and places him on my chest. All seven pounds of him.
I’m scared to look.
I feel him, warm against my breast. He smells like candy and rain water. I finally look at him, and I take in his squished little face. I see him. I know him. I am surprised that I recognize exactly who he is. It’s like I remember him for the first time. He is beautiful. He is whole. He is crying and breathing and moving his little fingers and toes.
I look up at my mom. She’s prouder than I’ve ever seen.
I did that.
I’ve been wavering all week, wondering if I should share this story with you. This is probably the most vulnerable and raw piece of writing I have ever made public.
I’ve been worried if I share it with you, you will think it’s too much, or too colorful, or too exposed.
But I am choosing to share with you anyway, despite my fears.
Because women are powerful.
And we forget this.
We birth and create and rise over and over again.
We are incredibly strong and resiliant.
Yet we forget.
This Mother’s Day, I want you to remember your own power.
I want you to remember your own birth story.
I want you to sit back, and tell yourself with pride, “I did that”.
My hope is that my story helps you to remember your own.
I wish you a happy Mother’s Day.